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Galleria Estense (Modena)

The Ducal Collection

Velazquez’s Portrait of Francesco I d’Este

On the upper floor of the Palazzo dei Musei, the Galleria Estense is a well-arranged collection founded by Francesco I d’Este. The dukes didn’t bother much with anything before the 1400s (this is one of those museums that still calls them ‘primitives’) but there is one work by medieval Modena’s greatest painter, Tommaso da Modena, as well as some other good early Emilian works.

A room of quattrocento works shows that in the Renaissance Modena could play too. There's a scene from the Aeneid by Niccolò dell'Abate, the obscure Bartolomeo Bonascia's Pietá with symbols of the Passion, and an animated Crucifixion by Francesco Bianchi Ferrari, a pupil of Cosmè Tura. Still, the Florentines steal the show, with works by Francesco Botticini and Andrea del Sarto, and especially Botticelli’s ripe technicolour Madonna and Bambino.

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Modena Museums and Galleries

Top Sights

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by PD Art